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Kavanaugh vote: Ford’s attorneys say the FBI has not yet contacted them

Published: Monday, October 01, 2018 @ 11:45 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 03, 2018 @ 6:17 AM

WATCH: President Trump Comments on Brett Kavanaugh Investigation

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to advance Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court on Friday, following a day of testimony about a decades-old allegation of sexual misconduct leveled against him by Christine Blasey Ford.

>> Read more trending news

The Senate, though, also agreed to a one-week FBI investigation into the allegations after several Republicans requested the probe.

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Here are the latest updates:

Update 5:55 a.m. EDT Oct. 3: Attorneys for two of the women who have accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct say they have not been contacted by the FBI concerning the agencies reopened background investigation of the Supreme Court nominee.

Lawyers for Dr. Christine Ford said they sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray to find out why they had not yet been contacted for an interview for the investigation some say is expected to conclude on Wednesday or Thursday.

Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers.

John Clune, an attorney for Deborah Ramirez, the second woman to publicly accuse Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, said he had not heard back from the FBI about a witness list he provided the agency. Clune said the 20 people of the list could help corroborate Ramirez’s story.

Clune said Ramirez was interviewed by the FBI on Sunday. 

Update 3:28 p.m. EDT Oct. 2: Dr. Christine Ford’s lawyers told Fox News that as of Tuesday afternoon, they have not been contacted by the FBI about an interview with Ford over her allegations of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 
Fox’s Shepard Smith reported that Ford's attorneys told him they tried several times to contact the agency, but they have not heard back.

Update 2:47 p.m. EDT Oct. 2: Hillary Clinton, speaking at The Atlantic Fest – a three-day convention of “thought leaders, press and industry professionals” – on Tuesday, said she found Dr. Christine Ford’s testimony that Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her “credible” and “convincing.”

Ford testified that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were teenagers in the early 1980s.

Clinton said she “felt a great swell of pride that Ford “would be willing to put herself out there under these circumstances."

Of Kavanaugh’s testimony, Clinton said she did not get a chance to see much of it on Thursday because of a previous commitment. However, Clinton did say of the part of the hearing she saw, "The performance, the behavior was quite out of bounds. I don't ever remember anything like that. … “There is such a thing that you seek in judges of a judicious temperament,” Clinton said. “People who are able to discipline themselves, to be open to the evidence wherever it might lead … This was quite unusual, what we saw the other day.”

Clinton said Kavanaugh’s testimony that allegations against him were part of a “left-wing” conspiracy on behalf of her and former President Bill Clinton “deserves a lot of laughter.” 

Kavanaugh was a staff member for independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who investigated the Clintons in the 1990s when Bill Clinton was president.

Update 11:47 a.m. EDT Oct. 2: The Associated Press is reporting that the FBI interview with Kavanaugh’s high school friend, Mark Judge, has been completed. 

The AP reported that Judge, who has denied any wrongdoing, “completed his interview with FBI agents as part of the reopened background investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh.”

Dr. Christine Ford said Kavanaugh and Judge “were drunkenly laughing “ when Kavanaugh allegedly attacked her when the two were high school students in the early 1980s.

Judge was reportedly one of four people originally approved for an FBI interview, The New York Times reported.

"I do not recall the events described by Dr. Ford in her testimony before the US Senate Judiciary Committee today," Judge wrote in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes. I am knowingly submitting this letter under penalty of felony."

 

Update 10:25 a.m. EDT Oct. 2: NBC News is reporting that Kavanaugh and friends of the Supreme Court nominee were communicating with former classmates to refute the claims that he exposed himself to Deborah Ramirez. The reports are based on text messages NBC News said it has obtained.

Kerry Berchem told NBC News that she has tried to provide the messages to the FBI for its investigation but has not been contacted by investigators. 

The texts, according to NBC News, show that Berchem and another friend of Kavanaugh, Karen Yarasavage, show that he was talking with classmates before the allegations from Ramirez came out in a New Yorker article. 

 

Update 11:35 p.m. EDT Oct. 1: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh has withdrawn from a Harvard course he has scheduled to teach in January 2019, according to news reports.

Associate Dean Catherine Claypoole  said Kavanaugh can “no longer commit” to teaching the course, according to The Hill.

"Today, Judge Kavanaugh indicated that he can no longer commit to teaching his course in January Term 2019, so the course will not be offered," Claypoole said, according to Business Insider.

The school sent an email to law students informing them of Kavanaugh’s decision.

 

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 1: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh started a bar fight in 1985 as a freshman at Yale University after throwing ice and beer on another patron at an establishment in New Haven, Connecticut, following a UB40 concert, according to news reports.

Kavanaugh and two other friends were at a Yale bar called Demery’s after seeing the English reggae band when Kavanaugh thought another guy in the bar looked like the band’s singer, according to Bloomberg.

The guy cursed at Kavanaugh, according to a witness, and Kavanaugh cursed back and threw a beer on him.

The New York Times is reporting Kavanaugh threw ice at the man.

A fight broke out and a witness said former NBA star Chris Dudley, a friend and former Yale roommate of Kavanaugh’s, threw a glass and hit the patron in the ear, the NYT reported.

Dudley denied the allegation in the police report, the newspaper said, and Kavanaugh would not confirm his involvement to police at the scene.

The victim was taken to a hospital for treatment. It’s unclear if any arrests were made in the incident.

 

Update 6:30 p.m. EDT Oct. 1: The FBI has interviewed Mark Judge, Brett Kavanaugh’s high school friend and the other person Christine Blasey Ford said was in the room during her sexual assault in 1982.

Judge’s lawyer, though, said “his interview has not been completed," according to The Associated Press.

 

The FBI has also contacted another former classmate of Kavanaugh’s in addition to Deborah Ramirez, who has accused the federal judge of lewd behavior while he was drunk in college.

North Carolina college professor Chad Ludington has accused Kavanaugh of being less than truthful when describing his college drinking habits, according to CNN.

 

Update 4:15 p.m. EDT Oct. 1: Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor Monday to reiterate that the chamber will vote on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh by week’s end.

McConnell again accused Democrats of intentionally trying to delay the vote by withholding information on Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual misconduct allegations until the last possible minute.

“The goalposts keep shifting, but the goal hasn't moved an inch,” McConnell said.

>> Jamie DuPree: McConnell vows Senate vote ‘this week’ as Trump defends Kavanaugh

“The time for endless delay and obstruction has come to a close ... we'll be voting this week,” he vowed. 

The FBI was given a week to conduct an investigation into three women’s accusations against Kavanaugh of sexual assault and lewd behavior when he was in high school and college.

BuzzFeed is also reporting that one of the people at the party where Ford said she was assaulted has again said he had no knowledge of the gathering or of "improper conduct" by Kavanaugh.

 

Update 12:45 p.m. EDT Oct. 1: President Donald Trump said Monday that he wants the FBI to do a “comprehensive” investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh, our Washington Insider Jamie Dupree and The Associated Press both reported.

 

Trump made the comments during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden about the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. 

Trump said that he wants the investigation to wrap quickly because the allegations levied against Kavanaugh have been unfair to the Supreme Court nominee. The president said though that he is fine with the FBI if it wants to follow up on accusations made by three women against Kavanaugh, the AP reported.

Ford said she has yet to be contacted by the FBI and Kavanaugh denies her accusations. 

Trump has said that he wants the investigation to be wrapped up quickly, the AP reported.

“The one thing I want is speed,” Trump said. “We don’t want to go on a witch hunt, do we?”

Senate Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Kavanaugh Vote

Update 7:12 a.m. EDT Oct. 1: Rachel Mitchell, the Arizona sex crimes prosecutor hired by Senate Republicans to question Ford and Kavanaugh at Thursday’s hearing, said in a memo to the Judiciary Committee that a “reasonable prosecutor” would not bring criminal charges against the Supreme Court nominee based on Ford’s claims.

Both The Washington Post and CNN reported the memo’s contents late Sunday.

“There is no clear standard of proof for allegations made during the Senate’s confirmation process,” Mitchell acknowledged in the memo, dated Sunday. “But the world in which I work is the legal world, not the political world. Thus, I can only provide my assessment of Dr. Ford’s allegations in that legal context.”

She added: “A ‘he said, she said’ case is incredibly difficult to prove. But this case is even weaker than that.”

>> Read the full memo here

 

Meanwhile, Charles Ludington, a North Carolina State University professor who attended Yale with Kavanaugh and claims they were friends, said his classmate’s testimony wasn’t truthful.

“I can unequivocally say that in denying the possibility that he ever blacked out from drinking, and in downplaying the degree and frequency of his drinking, Brett has not told the truth,” Ludington told WSOC-TV in a statement.

Read more here.

Update 8:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 30: Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Coons gave their first interview Sunday night since convincing their Senate colleagues Friday to allow a limited FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Flake, an Arizona Republican, admitted during a “60 Minutes” interview that the confrontation in the elevator with two activists and sexual assault survivors Friday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh did help persuade him to delay the vote by the full Senate.

Coons, a Democrat from Delaware and a friend of Flake’s, was also pivotal in delaying the vote and said Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony Thursday was too compelling to ignore.

>> Related: Sen. Jeff Flake confronted in elevator by protester: 'Don't look away from me!' 

Flake agreed. “She was compelling, just extremely compelling,” but he also said he understood why Kavanaugh was so angry.

 

"To see his family behind him ... it was anger, but if I were unjustly accused, that's how I would feel as well," he said.

Coons questioned Kavanaugh’s temperament and said his reaction to questions by Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Amy Klobuchar during Thursday’s hearing about his drinking and behavior in high school "went over a line." 

"He was clearly belligerent, aggressive, angry,” but Coons also said that Kavanaugh’s partisan remarks bothered him, as well.

>> Related: Kavanaugh vote: Democrats walk out; women stand in silent protest

Flake agreed, but said he understood how Kavanaugh felt.

“I think his interaction with some of the members was a little too sharp. But the statement in the beginning I thought was pretty raw, but in keeping with someone who had been unjustly accused," he said.

Update 7:08 a.m. EDT Sept. 30: President Donald Trump took to Twitter late Saturday to deny an NBC News report alleging that the White House had limited the scope of the FBI’s Kavanaugh investigation.

“NBC News incorrectly reported (as usual) that I was limiting the FBI investigation of Judge Kavanaugh, and witnesses, only to certain people,” Trump tweeted. “Actually, I want them to interview whoever they deem appropriate, at their discretion. Please correct your reporting!”

 

Update 5:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 29: The FBI has reached out to the second woman who has accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. 

Investigators have contacted Deborah Ramirez, a Yale classmate who alleges Kavanaugh made unwanted advances toward her during a drunken party at a dorm during the 1983-84 school year, The Washington Post reported.

“She has agreed to cooperate with their investigation,” Ramirez attorney John Clune said in a statement, The Post reported. “Out of respect for the integrity of the process, we will have no further comment at this time."

Update 3:13 p.m. EDT Sept. 29: Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, requesting that Wray contact the White House Counsel’s Office immediately if any witnesses in the Kavanaugh investigation attempt to delay or are uncooperative.

 

Update 6 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that all 51 Republican Senators support proceeding toward the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

 

Update 5 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: President Donald Trump has directed the FBI to launch a supplemental investigation into his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Trump said in a statement that the updated investigation “must be limited in scope” and “completed in less than one week.”

 

The decision marked a reversal for the administration, which had argued that Kavanaugh had already been vetted.

Kavanaugh says he’s done “everything” the Senate has asked and “will continue to cooperate.”

 

Update 3:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Senate Majority Whip John Coryn told BuzzFeed News and CNN that there will be a vote Saturday in the Senate on a motion to proceed with Kavanaugh’s nomination with an agreement for a supplemental FBI investigation to last no longer than a week.

 

Update 3:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said that Senate Republicans have reached “an accord” on how to proceed with Kavanaugh’s nomination after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said he wanted a limited FBI investigation of allegations levied against the Supreme Court nominee before the vote comes before the full Senate, according to The Hill.

 

Update 3:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, added his voice to calls for an FBI investigation into a sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh.

Manchin said senators need to slow down on confirming Kavanaugh so the investigation can be conducted. The probe should happen, in his words, "so that our country can have confidence in the outcome of this vote."

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Mark Judge, Kavanaugh's friend in high school, said Friday that he’s willing to cooperate with any law enforcement agency that “confidentially” investigates an allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Ford during a gathering in the summer of 1982.

 

Judge is the only person aside from Ford or Kavanaugh said to have been in the room during the alleged assault. Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday that she was able to escape from Kavanaugh after Judge jumped on the bed, toppling her and Kavanaugh off of it.

Judge has previously said that he does not want to testify.

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has thrown her support behind Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, who on Friday voted to move Kavanaugh's nomination forward on the stipulation that the FBI conduct a limited, week-long probe into Ford's allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s.

 

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: President Donald Trump said Friday that he found Ford’s testimony to be “very compelling” and that she seemed like “a very credible witness.”

“She looks like a very fine woman to me,” the president told reporters at a meeting with the president of Chile. “And I thought that Brett’s testimony, likewise, was really something that I haven’t seen before. It was incredible. It was an incredible moment, I think, in the history of our country.”

 

Trump has previously said that he finds it hard to believe that Kavanaugh could have sexually assaulted Ford.

>> Trump on Kavanaugh sexual assault allegation: 'Why didn’t someone call the FBI 36 years ago?'

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11 to 10 to move Kavanaugh’s nomination forward after Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said he wanted a limited, week-long FBI investigation of allegations levied against the Supreme Court nominee.

 >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Kavanaugh faces new hurdle even as Senate panel okays nomination

Ford testified Thursday before the committee, telling senators that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh during a gathering in the 1980s, when they were both teenagers.

“I think it would be proper to delay the floor vote for up to but not more than one week in order to let the FBI to do an investigation limited in time and scope to the allegations,” he said. “I would vote to advance the bill to the floor with that understanding.”

 

The request was not binding, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

The vote will move on to the Senate floor.

Update 1:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: The Senate Judiciary Committee was expected to vote at 1:30 p.m. on Kavanaugh’s nomination, although the proceedings were delayed.

It was not immediately clear when the vote would take place.

 

Update 1:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Rumors are swirling that Sen. Jeff Flake, who earlier Friday announced that he’d vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination, might change his mind.

After he announced his intention to confirm Kavanaugh, Flake was confronted by a pair of women who were outraged over his decision.

 

>> Sen. Jeff Flake confronted by Kavanaugh protesters in elevator

Flake left Friday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing while it was still ongoing. He did not return. Later, BuzzFeed News reported he was seen in a huddle of senators.

     

Update 1:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat up for re-election in his deeply Republican home state, said he will vote against confirming Kavanaugh’s nomination.

In a statement, he said he has “deep concerns about the allegations of sexual assault against Judge Kavanaugh.”

“Unfortunately, Judge Kavanaugh couldn’t find time to discuss these concerns with me in person, so the only information I have is from what he said in his hearings,” Tester said. “I’ll be voting against him.”

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Joe Donnelly, a moderate Democrat who voted in favor of President Donald Trump's first Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, said on Friday that he will vote against confirming Kavanaugh's nomination.

 

Donnelly said Ford's allegations are "disturbing and credible" and should be investigated by the FBI, which Trump and Senate Republicans say isn't needed.

Update 12 p.m. EDT Sept. 28: Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken on Friday joined the American Bar Association’s call for senators to slow down their investigation into Ford’s allegation of sexual assault by Kavanaugh in order to allow the case to be fully examined.

“Proceeding with the confirmation process without further investigation is not in the best interest of the Court or our profession,” she said in a statement.

Kavanaugh graduated from the school in 1990.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote at 1:30 p.m. Friday on Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

Update 11:45 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse questioned Republicans’ refusal to further investigate Ford’s allegation that she was sexually assaulted in the 1980s by Kavanaugh.

He noted that Kavanaugh’s calendars, as provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee by his attorneys, showed at least one date in which Kavanaugh noted drinking at a gathering with two people who were named by Ford as attending the gathering at which she was assaulted.

"This may — may — be powerful corroborating evidence that the assault happened,” Whitehouse said. “But with no FBI investigation, we can’t tell.”

He reiterated calls for an FBI investigation into the allegation.

“It’s the least thing a sexual assault victim is entitled to when she comes forward,” he said.

 

Update 11:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Lindsey Graham warned Friday that failure to approve of Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court "will tear this country apart."

“This has never been about the truth,” Graham said. “This has been about delay and destruction. And if we reward this, it is the end of good people wanting to be judges. It is the end of any concept of the rule of law. It is the beginning of a process that will tear this country apart.”

 

Update 11:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: “In some ways, it feels like Alice in Wonderland around here,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said at Friday’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

He denounced the way that majority Republicans have handled Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying that the committee is no longer an “independent branch of government,” as it’s supposed to be.

 

Instead, he said, it’s now “an arm, an a very weak arm, of the Trump White House.”

“It's unbelievable where we are today. It's almost surreal,” Leahy said. “Every semblance of independence has just disappeared. It's gone. And I think that is something historians will look at, and they'll call it a turning point in the United States Senate."

Leahy said Kavanaugh has been "credibly accused of sexual assault" and the committee has failed to conduct a meaningful investigation.

The committee is set to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination at 1:30 p.m.

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Jeff Flake, who was considered a key swing vote in Kavanaugh's nomination before he announced Friday that he plans to vote to confirm the Supreme Court nominee, said in a statement that after Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Ford and Kavanaugh, he was left "with as much doubt as certainty." 

"What I do know is that our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence. That is what binds us to the rule of law,” Flake said. “While some may argue that a different standard should apply regarding the Senate’s advice and consent responsibilities, I believe that the constitution’s provisions of fairness and due process apply here as well. I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote at 1:30 p.m. Friday on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Several Democrats walked out of the committee chambers early Friday after Republicans defeated a motion to subpoena Judge,  Kavanaugh's friend and the only other person who was in the room during Ford's alleged assault.

>> Kavanaugh vote: Democrats walk out; women stand in silent protest

Update 10:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Friday that Kavanaugh’s nomination is “a real test” for the Senate and the nation "to see how we treat women, especially women who are survivors of sexual assault."

The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said that 27 years after the Clarence Thomas hearings, Republicans appear to have a new strategy for handling sexual assault allegations.

"The Republican strategy is no longer 'attack the victim.' It is to ignore the victim," she said.

Some Democrats walked out of Friday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after Republicans defeated a motion to subpoena Judge, Kavanaugh's friend and the only other person who was in the room during Ford's alleged assault. 

"It's very clear that the Republicans will break every norm, every rule, to get this person on the Supreme Court," Sen. Mazie Hirono said. "This has got to stop. So I walked out. I'm not going to participate in this charade anymore."

Democrats have called for the FBI to investigate Ford’s allegation that Kavanaugh forced her onto a bed and attempted to take her clothes off at a gathering in the 1980s, when they were both teenagers. 

Update 10:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Some Democratic senators walked out of Friday morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee meeting after Republicans defeated a motion to subpoena Judge.

CNN reported that Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Kamala Harris, Sheldon Whitehouse and Mazie Hirono left the room during committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s opening statement. The news network reported Sen. Patrick Leahy “left a bit later.”

 

Update 9:50 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: In an 11-10 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee rejected a motion by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, to subpoena Judge to testify before the committee.

Senators agreed to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination at 1:30 p.m.

 

Update 9:40 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened proceedings ahead of a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination.

 

Update 9:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Republican Sen. Jeff Flake announced Friday morning that he will vote to confirm Kavanaugh’s nomination.

 

The vote will be heading to the Senate floor, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

Update 9:20 a.m. EDT Sept. 28: Republicans are confident they have enough votes to confirm Kavanaugh's nomination Friday, according to Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree.

>> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: GOP pushes ahead after wrenching day of Ford, Kavanaugh testimony

If he is approved, the vote will move to the Senate floor.

 

Update 12:59 a.m. EDT Sept 28:  The American Bar Association called on the Senate Judiciary Committee to stop the consideration of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh until an FBI investigation is completed into the sexual assault allegations, CNN and the Washington Post reported.

In a letter sent to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley and ranking Democrat Dianne Feinstein, ABA president Robert Carlson said the Senate must remain "an institution that will reliably follow the law and not politics," adding that a "thorough FBI investigation will demonstrate its commitment to a Supreme Court that is above reproach," CNN reported.

Update 8:15 p.m. EDT Sept 27: Republican senators said the Judiciary Committee plans to vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. 

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the second ranking-Republican, had said Thursday that the GOP conference would meet and “see where we are.” After meeting, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “There will be a vote tomorrow morning.” 

Update 7:00 p.m. EDT Sept 27: President Donald Trump said on social media that his Supreme Court nominee held his own during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Thursday into allegation of sexual misconduct against Brett  Kavanaugh.

“Judge Kavanaugh showed America exactly why I nominated him, Trump tweeted near the end of the day-long hearing, calling Kavanaugh’s testimony “powerful, honest and riveting.”

The president also again accused the Democrats of a political hit job.

“Democrats’ search and destroy strategy is disgraceful and this process has been a total sham and effort to delay, obstruct, and resist,” he said. 

Trump is calling on the Senate for a vote on the Kavanaugh nomination.

 

Update 6:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was repeatedly asked by Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday whether he would allow a FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against him by three different women. 

“I’ll do whatever the committee wants,” Kavanaugh siad over and over throughout the afternoon.

In closing, Kavanaugh was asked to swear to God that he never committed any of the acts he was accused of.

“I’ve never done this to her or anyone else,” Kavanaugh said when asked if he assaulted Christine Blasey Ford when they were teenagers.

“I swear to God.”

“It’s not true,” he said, when asked about the allegations by former college classmate Deborah Ramirez.

He also denied the allegations of participating in gang rapes alleged by Julie Swetnick.

Most of the Republicans on the committee expressed sorrow to Kavanaugh during the hearing for what he and his family have endured throughout the past few weeks as the allegations against him mounted.

Republicans are holding a meeting Thursday evening to assess the day and how the hearing went and to see whether they have enough votes to approve Kavanugh’s nomination and send it to the Senate for a full vote.

Update 5:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh told the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing Thursday that his life has been turned upside down by the sexual misconduct allegations against him.

"My life is totally and permanently altered,"  Kavanaugh said, while continuing to profess his innocence.

Republican senators on the committee gave up questioning by the outside counsel, Rachel Mitchell, who they brought in to question Ford and Kavanaugh, and started asking Kavanaugh questions themselves.

South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham became so angry at one point during questioning by Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin that he responded by yelling about the nomination process . He accused Democrats of creating a circus-like environment and forever tainting the nominating process.

"This is the most unethical sham since I've been in politics," Graham yelled.

 

Update 4 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kavanaugh choked up Thursday during his opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing to address a sexual misconduct allegation made against him by Ford.

He said that his 10-year-old daughter told his wife in recent days that “we should pray for (Ford).”

>> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: LIVE UPDATES from inside the Kavanaugh-Ford hearing room

“That’s a lot of wisdom from a 10-year-old,” he said as his voice cracked. “We mean no ill will.”

He forcefully repeated his prior denials of Ford’s claim that he sexually assaulted her at a gathering in the 1980s.

“I am innocent,” he said. “I never committed sexual assault.”

Update 3:05 p.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ford’s appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee ended Thursday afternoon after about four hours of testimony.

Kavanaugh is expected to testify shortly.

 

Update 11:55 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: President Donald Trump is watching Ford's testimony from Air Force One as he travels Thursday from New York City to Washington, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told White House pool reporters.

 

Update 11:10 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ford said in her opening statement Thursday at a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that she believed Kavanaugh was going to rape her during an encounter in the summer of 1982.

She detailed the assault, which she said happened at a small gathering at a home in Maryland, at Thursday’s hearing.

 

She told senators that Kavanaugh and Judge were visibly drunk during the party and that she had one beer herself. When she went upstairs to use the restroom, she says she was pushed into a bedroom across the hallway and shoved onto a bed.

She said they locked the door behind them and that one of them turned up music that was playing. She said Kavanaugh ran his hands over her body and ground his hips into hers. She yelled, but said that Kavanaugh was too heavy to shift off her. As she tried to shout for help, she said Kavanaugh put his hand over her mouth.

>> Livestream: Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testify 

“That was what terrified me the most, and has had the most lasting impact on my life,” she said. “It was hard for me to breathe, and I thought that Brett was accidentally going to kill me.”

She said Judge jumped on the bed twice, and the second time caused her and Kavanaugh to roll off the bed. She ran from the room into the nearby bathroom, where she stayed until after she heard Kavanaugh and Judge leave the bedroom, she said.

She said that after the assault, “I was too ashamed to tell anyone these details. I did not want to tell my parents that, at age 15, I was in a house without anyone present, drinking beer with boys."

Update 10:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened Thursday’s public committee hearing over Ford’s allegations.

   

Update 8:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Ford will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a hearing that could decide the fate of Kavanaugh’s nomination to the high court. The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. EDT. 

>> Click here for live updates from the hearing

Update 7:58 a.m. EDT Sept. 27: Kavanaugh’s third accuser, Swetnick, discussed her allegations in a video clip shared by Showtime’s “The Circus.”

“It wasn’t that I wanted to come out one day before the hearing,” Swetnick said in the video, which marks the first time she has spoken publicly on camera about the incident. “It’s that circumstances brought it out that way. This is something that occurred a long time ago, and it’s not that I just thought about it. It’s been on my mind ever since the occurrence.

“As far as it goes, Brett Kavanaugh is going for a seat where he’s going to have that on the Supreme Court for the rest of his life,” she continued. “And if he’s going to have that seat legitimately, all of these things should be investigated because from what I experienced firsthand, I don’t think he belongs on the Supreme Court.”

>> Who is Rachel Mitchell, the woman who will be questioning Ford, Kavanaugh

Swetnick added: “I just want the facts to come out, and I want it to be just, and I want the American people to have those facts and judge for themselves.”

When asked which instances mentioned in her statement that she believes should disqualify Kavanaugh, she replied, “All of the above.” 

“That’s not the type of behavior that anybody at any age should – I don’t think women should be treated that way, and I don’t think that any human being should be treated that way,” she said.

>> Watch the clip here

 

Update 7:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee heard about two more alleged incidents of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh this week, according to news reports.

Kavanaugh has denied both incidents, which have been deemed less credible then those by the first three women who have come forward because they were made by anonymous individuals.

 

>> Julie Swetnick steps forward as third accuser; Brett Kavanaugh denies accusations

 

Update 7:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have again sent a letter to President Donald Trump demanding another FBI background investigation into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

“Judiciary Dems are standing united to call on Donald Trump to reopen the FBI background investigation into Brett Kavanaugh or withdraw his nomination,” Sen. Mazie Hirono said in a post on social media.

 

Trump has continued to defend Kavanaugh since the first accusations surfaced and did so again in a press conference Wednesday.

He also rejected the idea of reopening an investigation into Kavanaugh’s background.

“The FBI told us they’ve investigated Brett Kavanaugh five, six times over the years,” he said.

However Trump left open the possibility of withdrawing Brett Kavanaugh if he “thought he was guilty of something like this.”

Update 5:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump held a rare solo press conference with reporters in New York Wednesday afternoon where he again defended his  embattled Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, calling him “the highest person.”

Trump also blamed the Democrats again for the controversy surrounding Kavanaugh’s nomination, saying there was plenty of time to investigate Kavanaugh on the sexual misconduct allegations, but that Democrats waited until his nomination hearing was over.

>> Related: Kavanaugh hearing: What time, what channel, who is testifying, how to watch

“They know it’s a big fat con job,” he said.

“These are false accusations in certain cases,” Trump said, asking “Why did they wait so long?”

The first accusations of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford were reported by The Washington Post on Sept. 16, just a few days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination, even though Ford had contacted committee member Sen. Dianne Feinstein several months earlier. 

“Thirty-six years there’s no charge. All of a sudden the hearings are over and this comes out,” the president said.

For the first time, though, Trump seemed open to hearing what Ford has to say about the incident involving Kavanaugh and said he’s open to “changing my mind.”

“I’m going to see what happens tomorrow.” 

>> Related: Who is Julie Swetnick, third woman to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct

Update 3:15 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: Attorneys for Ford have provided the Senate Judiciary Committee with the results of a polygraph test she took last month that was focused on her allegation against Kavanaugh, The Associated Press reported.

Documents obtained by the AP indicated Ford took the test Aug. 7. She  told the Post earlier this month that she had a polygraph test administered by a former FBI agent in early August.

The test showed that the probability that Ford is lying about her accusation is "close to zero," CNN reported. However, the AP noted that the test hasn’t been independently verified by experts.

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump called new decades-old allegations of sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh that were unveiled Wednesday “ridiculous.”

“It’s a horrible con game. I think the people are finding it out,” Trump said while speaking with reporters at the United Nations in New York. “Hopefully over the next couple of days it will be settled up and solved and we will have a Supreme Court Justice who will go down as the greatest ever.”

Trump has repeatedly voiced support for Kavanaugh.

“I think it's really working out very well,” Trump said Wednesday. “I think it's doing well.”

 

Update 1:20 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump and Avenatti traded barbs  on Twitter Wednesday after new allegations of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh surfaced.

Avenatti also represents adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her efforts to break a non-disclosure agreement meant to bar her from talking about an affair she says she had with Trump a decade before his election.

“Avenatti is a third rate lawyer who is good at making false accusations, like he did on me and like he is now doing on Judge Brett Kavanaugh,” Trump said. “He is just looking for attention and doesn’t want people to look at his past record and relationships -- a total low-life!”

 

Avenatti responded to the tweet within minutes, reminding Trump that his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, pleaded guilty last month to eight charges, including multiple counts of tax evasion and a campaign finance charge stemming from so-called “hush money” payments made to Daniels and former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal.

>> Cohen pleads guilty to 8 charges, says Trump told him to pay off Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal

“You are (a) habitual liar and complete narcissist who also is a disgrace as a president and an embarrassment to our nation,” Avenatti wrote. “You are so inept that your ‘best and brightest’ are Cohen and (Trump attorney Rudy) Giuliani. Let’s go.”

 

Update 12:25 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: The Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday released Kavanaugh’s written testimony one day before a scheduled hearing to address the sexual misconduct allegation Ford made against him.

"There has been a frenzy to come up with something -- anything, no matter how far-fetched or odious -- that will block a vote on my nomination," Kavanaugh wrote. "These are last-minute smears, pure and simple.”

 

Kavanaugh said he spent most of his high school years "focused on academics, sports, church and service." However, he acknowledged that he drank alcohol and said he wasn't always on his best behavior.

>> 5 things to know about the Supreme Court

"I was not perfect in those days, just as I am not perfect today," he wrote. "I drank beer with my friends, usually on weekends. Sometimes I had too many. In retrospect, I said and did things in high school that make me cringe now.

“But that's not why we are here today. What I've been accused of is far more serious than juvenile misbehavior. I never did anything remotely resembling what Dr. Ford describes."

 

Ford and Kavanaugh are expected to appear Thursday for a public hearing before Senate Judiciary Committee.

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 26: A third woman who is accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct has been identified by attorney Michael Avenatti.

 

Update 10 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: President Donald Trump said Wednesday morning that Republicans “could not be nicer” in the way they’ve handled allegations of sexual misconduct levied against Kavanaugh.

>> Supreme Court nomination: What happens after Trump makes his pick?

“They could have pushed (Kavanaugh’s nomination) through two and a half weeks ago and you wouldn’t be talking about it right now,” he told reporters at the United Nations in New York. “The Republicans could not be nicer, could not be more respectful to the process -- certainly could not be more respectful to the woman.”

 

The president also reiterated his support for Kavanaugh and accused the Democrats again of playing “a con game” with the sexual misconduct allegations.

“You don’t find people like this,” Trump said. “(Kavanaugh’s) an absolute gem, and he’s been treated very unfairly be the Democrats, who are playing a con game. They know what they’re doing -- it’s a con. They go into a backroom and theey talk to each other and they laugh at what they’re getting away with.”

Update 8:05 a.m. EDT Sept. 26: Kavanaugh’s lawyers shared pages from the Supreme Court nominee’s 1982 calendar in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday night, USA Today and National Law Journal are reporting.

His legal team plans to use the calendar pages to defend against Ford’s allegations, the newspaper reported.

>> See the pages here

Meanwhile, both outlets also reported that attorneys for Kavanaugh's first accuser, Ford, submitted signed declarations from four people corroborating her story.

>> Read the statements here

Update 10:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Republican leaders have tapped Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Christine Blasey Ford and SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, according to a statement from committee chair Chuck Grassley.

Mitchell, a career sex crimes prosecutor, will question Ford and Kavanaugh on Ford’s accusation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a party when the two were in high school in the early 1980s.

>> Brett Kavanaugh denies sexual assault allegations in first TV interview: ‘I never did any such thing’

“The goal is to de-politicize the process and get to the truth, instead of grandstanding and giving senators  an opportunity to launch their presidential campaigns,” Grassley said.

Mitchell is on leave from the Maricopa County Prosecutor’s Office in order to participate in the hearing Thursday.

 

Update 8:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein called the planned vote Friday morning on Brett Kavanaugh’s SCOTUS nomination “outrageous.”

“For Republicans to schedule a Friday vote on Brett Kavanaugh today, two days before Dr. Blasey Ford has had a chance to tell her story, is outrageous,” the California Democrat said in a statement Tuesday.

Feinstein accused the GOP of creating an unfair process.

“First Republicans demanded Dr. Blasey Ford testify immediately. Now Republicans don’t even need to hear her before they move ahead with a vote, she said.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, however, denied the accusations. 

>> SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh in first TV interview repeatedly denies sexual assault accusations

“Still taking this 1 step at a time,” Grassley said in a post on social media.

Grassley said that committee rules require three days notice before a vote. 

“So we’re following regular order,” he said.

He also said if the committee isn’t ready to vote after Ford’s and Kavanaugh’s testimony Thursday, then they’ll postpone it.

 

Update 6:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote for Friday morning on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ford is set to testify before the committee on Thursday about the assault she said she suffered at the hands of Kavanaugh at a party when the two were still in high school.

What was expected to be a simple nomination process has been marred by a growing number of women accusing the judge of of inappropriate, alcohol-fueled conduct in high school or college.

At least two other women have also accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Deborah Ramirez told The New Yorker that he made unwanted advances toward her at a party in a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University. Attorney Michael Avenatti on Wednesday revealed that he is representing a third Kavanaugh accuser, Julie Swetnick, who says that she witnessed Kavanaugh and his friend, Mark Judge, getting girls drunk at parties in the 1980s so that they could be assaulted.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will get a chance to tell her story before the committee votes, but committee staffers interviewed Kavanaugh Tuesday about her allegations and he denied them again, according to news reports.

 

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 25: An attorney representing Ramirez said Tuesday that his client wants the FBI to investigate allegations against Kavanaugh.

“We remain adamant that an FBI investigation, where all witnesses are questioned under threat of perjury, is the only way to get the truth,” attorney John Clune wrote on Twitter.

   

Clune added that Ramirez stands by her account of drunken wrongdoing by Kavanaugh, as told to The New Yorker and published Sunday.

 

Original report: President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused Democrats of using the allegations to play a “con game” with Kavanaugh.

The president claimed that Deborah Ramirez, a woman who accused Kavanaugh of making unwanted sexual advances toward her during a college party in the 1980s, said, “She was totally inebriated, and she was all messed up, and she doesn’t know it was him, but it might have been.”

“This is a con game being played by the Democrats,” Trump said.

 

Ramirez is the second woman to go public with accusations against Kavanaugh. She told The New Yorker in a story published Sunday that he made unwanted advances toward her during a party at a dormitory during the 1983-84 school year, while she and Kavanaugh were attending Yale University.

>> Second Kavanaugh accuser: Who is Deborah Ramirez?

University professor Christine Blasey Ford is expected to provide testimony Thursday at a public Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about a separate alleged encounter she says she had with the Supreme Court nominee when they were both teenagers.

Ford told The Washington Post earlier this month that Kavanaugh drunkenly groped her and tried to take off her clothes at a party in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has issued several denials of the allegations.

>> Who is Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court?

"I’ve never sexually assaulted anyone," Kavanaugh said in an interview that aired Monday on Fox News. "I've always treated women with dignity and respect."

 

The Supreme Court nominee is also expected to testify at Thursday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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